There is a lot of “ancient wisdom” being spouted about marriage. That’s why I invited two not-so-ancient men to offer a fresh perspective. Both have been married for less than 10 years (but seem to be doing it very well) . Read what Dave Shrein says in this post and more from him and Jeff Markins on Bold Living podcast above.
Giving Undeserved Love
by Dave Shrein
When I got engaged 8 years ago one thing I didn’t count on was all of the unsolicited advice I would begin receiving. Folks meant well, but it seemed that every married friend I had wanted to share with me their “secret sauce” for marital bliss. Along with every piece of advice came this warning: “your first year of marriage will be really hard.”
(My, how inspiring.)
There are hard moments and difficult situations in marriage but these cannot be attributed to marriage. Instead they ought to be attributed to the fact that a marriage is two sinners who are, by nature, selfish people entering into a covenant where they promise to forsake themselves for the benefit of the other and the marriage.
I have discovered that I experience the most pleasure in my marriage when I take on the role of servant in my home. Love is displayed by acts of selfless service (see John 3:16).
In my role as husband, the single greatest thing I have to do is to love my wife. Loving her requires much more than saying the words “I love you.” Loving her means putting her first, listening to her, romancing her and providing for her. All of this likely sounds pretty typical. Here is what’s not. As a husband I choose to love her like this even when she doesn’t ‘deserve’ my love.
We are each sinful people and as such my wife has hurt me many times. The natural response to being hurt can vary from man to man, but it almost always results in the husband withholding love from his wife until things are made right. This is where my wife and I choose to be different.
Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Here is the Dave Shrein Version: “though I didn’t deserve his love, Jesus still gave it by dying on the cross.” The sin in my life was so bad Jesus had to actually die for it. As Christ chose to love me though I didn’t deserve it, I choose to love my wife even in the moments she doesn’t deserve it. Period. End of sentence, no “but” following that up.
Love is what she needs most of all and so I made a covenant to love her in all situations of life. In turn, the thing I need most is her respect. I want her to be my biggest fan and to honor me… even when I sin against her and do not deserve her respect. When she respects me in spite of circumstances and takes on the role of a servant, it motivates me to show her the love she so desperately needs. In turn, as I love her she is motivated to respect me. Perfect circle.
Regardless of who’s right in our relationship at any given time we decide against “punishing” the other person because Jesus did not punish us… he was punished for us. Jesus does not condemn my wife but offers love freely. This amazing love inspires me to do the same.
*Listen to my revealing interview with Dave Shrein and Jeff Markins on Bold Living March 16th, 11 AM-noon MST on KPXQ or later on the podcast here. We’ll tackle most of the important topics, including sex, fighting and being with a non-believing spouse. Comment to affirm these young husbands or to share your best advice for marriage. Dave’s bio follows his post. Connect with Jeff on Facebook and read more from him on CBN.